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The ACCP Board of Directors is composed of corporate citizenship professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. In the ACCP Meets series, Board of Directors members share their experiences, advice, and more.
A common question many corporate citizenship professionals hear is, “How did you end up in this field?”
“I made a stop in virtually every sector on my corporate social responsibility (CSR) journey. I started in the public sector working for a Massachusetts State Senator and moved into the nonprofit sector working to develop corporate partnerships. Then it was on to academia where I worked for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. I then entered the consulting field, working with Cone Communications and finally into the private sector leading CSR for Dunkin’ Brands and now leading global sustainability for Samsonite.”
“I was a CPA, Internal Audit and Financial Reporting prior to joining the CSR field; it was the relationships I established working as a volunteer in the community that helped me get my first job in the Aetna Foundation (initially the budget and operations). It’s since morphed into so much more.”
“I was working as a consultant with several different nonprofit organizations to help them create a strategy, rebrand their marketing efforts, and develop new fundraising campaigns. I very quickly realized that while I loved what I was doing and who I was working with, I wanted to be on the corporate side where I felt I could make real change. Timing was on my side and a 6-month temporary role opened to join the brand new GoDaddy Corporate Social Responsibility team, and here I am 8 years later.”
In addition to sharing their journeys to corporate citizenship, ACCP board members also provided valuable advice for new corporate citizenship professionals.
“Really understand a company’s business first, and then focus on CSR. You will make a bigger impact if you understand the nuances of a company’s business strategy.”
Stacy Cline, GoDaddy:
“CSR teams tend to be lean and are always responding to pressing needs and often those needs change frequently. Be ready to quickly adapt and remember that what you’re doing is making a big difference!”
When asked what they wished those outside of the corporate citizenship field knew, board members gave insights that were helpful to those both in and outside of the field.
Christopher Montross, Aetna:
“The real business impacts for companies; its market value, sales and HR. Too many think that this is so soft and without real ROI.”
Christine Riley Miller, Samsonite:
“I wish those outside the field recognized that Corporate Social Responsibility requires a specific set of skills, especially as the field matures. I appreciate that ACCP developed the Corporate Citizenship Guide, which provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the skills and expertise that are required to be successful across the wide and varied field of CSR.”
Eileen Buckley, Stryker:
“It’s not just about giving and volunteering. It’s about finding innovative, forward-thinking ways to drive business and societal value.”
Finally, ACCP Board Chair Anita Whitehead, KPMG, shared this advice for those in corporate citizenship:
“Make ACCP your key resource. Reach out. I wish there was a resource like ACCP, when I started in the field. Connect with ACCP members on LinkedIn and Twitter, and that goes for calling me too. I’m glad to share. Call me or email me if you have questions. In this field, we learn every day, and at ACCP we share what we learn. Make good use of your contacts here.”